The centuries-long history of Hastings-on-Hudson, which to the initiated is writ large throughout the village, is now accessible to all who live, work and visit here, thanks to a project of the Hastings Historical Society.
Opened in the fall of 2005, The Museum of the Streets® is a walking tour of the village beginning in the downtown Boulanger Plaza. At 34 locations throughout the village, the Society has erected large 20-by-20-inch historical signs (right).
Handsomely designed and topped by a village seal depicting the Palisades, each sign features at least one historical photo of the site from by-gone days plus a paragraph-long explanation of its history written in English and in Spanish. In all, the signs feature more than 80 photos of Hastings' past from the Society's collection. The route of the walking tour is displayed on a four-color 48-by-59-inch sign posted at the starting location. The route is also described in a brochure available at local public buildings and businesses. The brochure is also available on our website.
The Museum in the Streets® is a wonderful way to get historical information out to the public, says Sue Smith, the Historical Society trustee who spearheaded the project. “The Society has a repository of fabulous photos, and pictures are a great way to tell a story,” she says. “It makes sense to use the richness we have and share it with the community. I think people will be surprised to discover things about Hastings that they did not know before.”
The Museum in the Streets in Hastings was generously sponsored by current and former Hastings residents plus local businesses.
The concept for “The Museum of the Streets®” was first pioneered in 15 towns in France and then in Maine by museum consultant and Maine resident Patrick Cardon. Cardon's company, called The Museum in the Streets®, designed and manufactured the signs. Carrying a 10-year warranty, the signs are built to last: Backed by quarter-inch Formica, they are waterproof and resistant to freezing temperatures and fortified against graffiti, acids and solvents.
The tour begins at the Boulanger parking plaza on Main Street, where a large map of the tour sits beside information on the site and photos, including a shot of Grace Episcopal Church in 1930 as it was being moved from that site to its present location farther up the street. It continues up Main Street then up Farragut Avenue to Olinda, down Olinda and south on Broadway to Draper Park and the Historical Society headquarters there, then down Washington Avenue. Signs along the way depict and/or describe the Revolutionary War-era Peter Post Tavern and the Chrystie Estate, which once stood at the Five Corners intersection; the Old Croton Aqueduct and the small cemetery there; historical photos of the Farragut school complex; the historical buildings in Draper Park; and, on Washington, views of the waterfront industries in the village's past; then north on Warburton Avenue.
The second part of the tour travels up Maple Avenue to Riverview Place then down Broadway to Warburton and back to Boulanger Plaza. Historical sites shown on signs along the way include the Katterhorn houses and old clock tower in the Tower Ridge neighborhood; the Zinsser Estate that stood where Zinsser Park is now; and the century-old Protection Engine Co. on Warburton.
Signs are posted at four sites off the established tours, to which visitors would be more likely to drive. These include MacEachron Park on the waterfront's north end, the Burke Estate, the industries that once stood where the commuter parking lot is today, and the Longue Vue Restaurant at the current site of the Andrus on Hudson senior community.
The Museum in the Streets® project has been generously supported by